SAMKELO Mhlophe, well known as TikTok teacher, makes education entertaining.
The 28-year-old science teacher from Hammarsdale, West of Durban, said God knew that he belonged in the classroom.
When Samkelo was offered a bursary to study education while at high school, he turned it down because he was eyeing the engineering field.
He applied for a civil engineering bursary and he got an offer which he didn’t hesitate to accept.
He left home for Nelson Mandela Bay University to enroll for the course. He did his first year and second year without any problems.
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The problem began when he was supposed to start his third year. The bursary he was using ran out of funds and they couldn’t fund him anymore.
He went back home as his family couldn’t afford to pay for his studies.
“While I was sitting at home, the bursary that I rejected back at high school offered me a second chance and I accepted it because I was sitting at home doing nothing,” said Samkelo.
He said he enrolled for an education degree at University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in 2016 and majored in science.
“After graduating, I got a teaching job in Nkandla. I was still not sure about it but from the first day I stepped into the classroom, I realised falling into teaching was not by mistake but God knew that I belong in the classroom,” he said.
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Samkelo said he taught the grades grade 8 to 12 life science, physical science, natural science, as well as arts and culture.
“What was more exciting for me was teaching the arts because I love singing and dancing.
"With me always trying to think on how to improve the classroom environment, I started singing when teaching. I saw that most learners were enjoying my lessons,” he said.
He said that from there he realised that children don’t forget dance moves and lyrics.
“I thought, why not take what they love in the outside world and bring it in the classroom, so that they will enjoy coming to school and be able to master their subjects. "I wanted to do away with this stigma that education is boring. I want it to be more of an entertainment that they will enjoy,” he said.
In 2022, Samkelo moved to Makhumbuza High School in Umlazi, south of Durban where he now teaching.
Pupil Palesa Sabela (19) said although Samkelo wasn't teaching at her school, she made sure that attended the extra classes he coducted with Where To Start Maths and Science (WTS) after she saw his video teaching.
“Life Science was one of the subjects that was an obstacle for me but after attending his extra classes, I managed to get a distinction for the subject. The singing and dancing make it easy for us to remember everything,” she said.
MaKhumbuza principal Bonginkosi Dlomo said he approached him after he saw how he teaches life science and begged him to join them at their school.
“I am happy I did that because I can see that a many children are now enjoying life science. We really need more innovative teachers who will make education fun and exciting,” said Dlomo.